What do today’s employers look for in recent graduates they plan to hire? While we often hear that creativity and tech savvy matter most, companies actually value information literacy skills even more. According to the Hart Research Associates report “Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success,” critical thinking and analytical reasoning are top priorities for 81 percent of employers.
This should come as no surprise when one bad call can break a business. Now more than ever, employers rely upon information-literate workers who can identify a business need, locate and evaluate information pertinent to it, then implement what they’ve learned wisely.
Yet fewer than three in 10 employers surveyed believe recent graduates have these problem-solving skills.
UNLV alumni stand above their peers on the information literacy front. The national Project Information Literacy (PIL) study, which examines recent graduates’ engagement in lifelong learning after the degree, highlights the level of success UNLV has achieved in transforming its students into the lifelong learners employers need. A majority of UNLV alumni believe the university “(taught) them…how to learn…(and) think analytically” and gave them the confidence to “learn anything on their own,” the study indicates.
The UNLV University Libraries, a nationally recognized leader in information literacy, has developed the programs that guide students toward the effective use of resources and has partnered with faculty to integrate research and inquiry-based learning into coursework. The Libraries is cited as one of the Association of College & Research Libraries’ exemplary programs for information literacy best practices in five out of 10 categories, and library faculty regularly provide their expert guidance on the subject through presentations, publications, and national programs such as Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success.
“The University Libraries stands at the epicenter of UNLV’s efforts to ensure Southern Nevada has the skilled human resources it needs to become a national leader,” said Libraries Dean Patricia Iannuzzi. “We have some of the leading information literacy experts in the world employed right here, and we are revolutionizing the way lifelong learning is incorporated into UNLV’s curriculum.”
The degree to which UNLV alums believe they have the information literacy skills they need is also greater than others surveyed indicated, the PIL study found.
“UNLV scored 7 percent higher in this area — higher than any other public university in our study sample,” said Alison Head, executive director of PIL. “Whatever instruction and support UNLV students are receiving from the University Libraries and elsewhere on campus, they have graduated truly believing they have gained some key critical thinking skills during college that they can adapt and use throughout their lives.”